Trumaine McBride figures that most of his New York Giants teammates have no idea this is his sixth season in the NFL.
"That’s the thing, a lot of guys look at me and I look young. They think I’m a rookie or this is my second year. Most guys don’t know my background or don’t know where I’ve been or how long I’ve been in the league," McBride said.
So, pay attention, Giants' players. Here is that background on your starting left cornerback.
McBride is an old man by NFL standards, all of 28 years old. He was a seventh-round pick by the Chicago Bears way back in the Dark Ages of 2007. He started nine games as a rookie for the Bears that season. Between 2008 and 2011, however, he started only one more game while bouncing from the Bears to the Arizona Cardinals to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bears started his vagabond journey, cutting him after a knee injury limited his productivity in his second season. He was out of the league last season after being released by Jacksonville at the end of the preseason.
"I wasn't exactly sure when but I knew at one point I would get another opportunity," McBride said. "I always stayed optimistic. I knew if not that year, I could definitely get a future deal somewhere."
McBride finally found that opportunity when the Giants gave him that futures deal in January.
Thing is, maybe McBride is the only one who expected to make something out of the chance.
He played well in the preseason but barely made the team, beating out Charles James for the final cornerback spot. He watched Corey Webster, Jayron Hosley and finally Aaron Ross got hurt before the Giants -- mostly because there was no one left -- turned to McBride.
Now, with four starts in five games, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell refers to McBride as a starter.
"It's his job to lose," Fewell said last week before the Giants played the Oakland Raiders. "In camp and in the OTAs he was impressive and then you saw some things and you don't know if he can, you don't know if he can't, but he competed every day. The thing that you liked about him is he competed every day. When he matched up against DeSean Jackson in the Philly game really well and really he had a good game against Kansas City when he came in and played and I think he contested and knocked down two or three or four balls, and in my mind, I said this is a thumbs up and so I haven't looked back since."
McBride's vagabond existence has likely had a great deal to do with his stature. At 5-foot-9, 185 pounds he is hardly the prototypical size for an NFL corner, particularly one matching up on the outside.
"You’re always concerned about that, but he plays bigger than his size," Fewell said. "You hear that term a lot, but he does. When he comes into the ball game, he plays big.
McBride has acquitted himself well. He has allowed only 13 completions in 30 targets (43.3 percent) and has a passer rating against of 60.7. McBride said he expects to be tested every week.
"I knew it the very first time I got an opportunity in the Chiefs game. He came at me right off the bat, so I know every week, week in and week out, guys are going to test me," McBride said. "The more opportunities I get, the more balls come my way, the more opportunities I get to make plays. So yeah, I’m good with it."
Old or young, tall or short, it doesn't matter. McBride is a good player who has helped the Giants during their recent turnaround. They were lucky to find him.
In honor of McBride and short people everywhere I couldn't help but bust out this classic from Randy Newman: